With Gamescom going on, VentureBeat had their Dean Takahashi go in and play some games. What we got out of this was a pathetic showcase of Cuphead. For some 25 minutes, Takahashi tries to beat the first level of the game, after taking some twenty jumps to clear the tutorial. It becomes clear after these first few minutes, that Takahashi is woefully unequipped to play the game, which affects the content on whatever piece he would be writing about it.
Games are action and action takes practice. While video games are for everybody, not everybody can play video games. Low-end games may be a sweet spot for many, just like a low-end stereo equipment is sufficient to loads of users. However, unlike with stereo equipment, moving from low-end to high-end isn’t about how much money and time you put into it with games. With games you have to excel and have execution. You can’t just wing it and call it a day. Unlike a stereo reviewer, a game reviewer has a necessity to be able to handle the whatever demands any tier of game requires.
To use a comparison, the minimum requirement for a book reviewer is that he is able to read the text. This produces poor reviews, as simply being able to read is not enough. You have to understand the text. This can produce some mediocre reviews. Understanding is not enough, as the reviewer should be able to analyse the structure, the intent, pacing and have proper understanding on the style of fiction and academics of writing. Merely being able to read does not produce results, there needs to be more behind it.
Dean Takahashi’s poor play with Cuphead may not represent anyone else but himself. He might become the most popular example nevertheless, followed by Polygon’s Doom gameplay video, where they spent most of the time shooting floors and walls rather than the enemies while showcasing extremely poor control of movement.
This isn’t a Git Gud jab either. No, this just might be. You should be able to do the required execution of an action, if you’re intending to comment on the environment where the action is done. For electronic games, it’s the gameplay. That’s not enough though. You also need to know the basics of writing a review, how to approach a game to understand its underlying structure and understand it.
You don’t need to be good at playing electronic games. You simply need to be able to do play them properly and as intended. These two examples of Takahashi and Polygon showcases that they are not cut for the job. The rest on the other is somewhat questionable. Certainly there are those who are able to play games properly, there’s no arguing that.
There is a large distrust towards the game journalists nowadays, thanks for the media attempting to kill the industry and attacking their own consumers. The articles that signed the death of the gamers were numerous and appeared at the same time; Gamasutra, Kotaku, Polygon, Buzzfeed, Ars Technica and numerous others wrote articles with the same content. If “the gamer” was dead, then so was the industry. While guilt by association should always be avoided, I can’t help but to notice how people have become more careful when assessing what the game media is saying about games, or the people consuming electronic games. Erik Kain of Forbes, however, had a different, a more positive take on the issue. However, as usual, it’s better for you to check these sources yourself rather than put your trust on someone on the Internet. Kain certainly did and pointed out that deceiving linking is not of good taste, despite the intentions behind it.
The fact that VentureBeat went and changed the video’s title after the comments began to pour in gives the whole thing a shameful atmosphere. Furthermore, when inquired about Takahashi performance, he tends to ask other people to do better than him all the while telling Cuphead‘s somewhere between Super Mario Bros. and Dark Souls. That is a huge as hell region, which tells absolutely nothing. It would be more accurate the describe as a mix of Gunstar Heroes and Mega Man, as those have served as some of the sources inspirations for Cuphead. Takahashi may be getting vitriol from the Internet and belittled for his lack of skills, but the core point still exists; how can a person report or create a proper assessment on a product he is unable to consume properly? Whatever the end piece would be, it would be a twisted and inaccurate representation of the product.